Strategic Leadership

Aiming for Continuous Communications Improvement

By Sarah Dahl 191 July-August 2017 No one is a perfect communicator, and no co-op experiences completely effective communication at all times. While some co-ops may do better than others—at least as reported in more than 200 staff surveys conducted by CDS Consulting Co-op—communication issues are nearly always on the list [...]

Striking the Balance for Co-op Success

By Mark Goehring, Rebecca Torpie March-April 2017 A truly successful co-op is one that not only runs a stellar store and keeps the books in the black. Such a co-op also makes room for co-op participants—owners, customers, and staff—to play a part in its forward momentum, in a space where they are [...]

Self-Assessment Tool: General Manager Success Profile

This assessment tool is designed to help a coach and a client prioritize areas for work together.  The assessment will help the coach get to know the client in a deeper way and help the client engage in self reflection of strengths and weaknesses.  In some cases, we will work [...]

Two Sides of Accountability

By Sarah Dahl #187 Nov.-Dec 2016 Except perhaps for the lucky few of them still enjoying double-digit growth and staff satisfaction with wages, most co-ops are constrained by limited personnel dollars. One of the ways to make sure that you are getting what you pay for is to ensure consistent [...]

Strategic Alliances and Consolidations: Exploring cooperation among cooperatives

By Art Sherwood 186 Sept-Oct 2016 New competition. Shrinking margins. Tighter supply. Rising labor costs. Saturated advertising. Poaching of great employees. Competing in the natural- foods market place is just plain hard. As the market’s “new normal” intensifies with the rush of conventional retail players and new competition into our [...]

Connecting the Dots: Strategic Board Leadership in Action

By Thane Joyal 185 July-Aug 2016   The future is unknowable. Or is it?  Courageous leadership relies in large measure on wise choices. In his entertaining novels, Robert Parker often references the military strategist Clausewitz for the proposition that you should “plan not for what you think your enemy will [...]

Co-op General Manager Success Profile: GM Role Requires Core Competencies

By Carolee Colter, Lauren Olsen, Marilyn Scholl 183 Mar-Apr 2016 It takes a lot to manage a food co-op. Co-op general managers (GMs) are responsible not only for the retail operations but also for budgeting, financial analysis, marketing, information technology, and human resources—functions that are provided by corporate headquarters to [...]

Complaints and Operational Concerns: How Directors Can Respond Effectively

By Michael Healy 182 January-February 2016 As a director, you may notice or hear things about your co-op that may be cause for concern—or are at least worth asking about. How can you respond in a way that honors your sense of responsibility, your board’s clear delegation to the general [...]

A Near Miss at Mississippi Market

By Carolee Colter 092 January - February - 2001 What went wrong? What lessons can other co-ops contemplating expansion learn from Mississippi Market's experience? By all accounts, Mississippi Market's second store expansion was a disaster. In 1996 when this St. Paul, MN co-op set out to purchase land and build [...]

“It’s Not Really a Co-op”

By Carolee Colter 113 July - August - 2004 Co-op employees have high expectations of their employers. And they should. We claim to run our businesses with multiple bottom lines. Co-ops’ vision and values statements frequently include “being a great workplace,” or “modeling ethical employment practices.” In an organization that [...]